I happen to live about 5 miles from Crystal Lake and so I feel the need to jump in on this.
My husband and I have swam in Crystal ever since we can both remember. We've seen the degradation of the lake over the past 20 or so years and it's very sad indeed.
Crystal is a beloved place by us "locals". There are several spots on the lake that are fairly secluded (no, I won't tell you where they are...that would be like admitting my favorite Moral mushroom hunting spot!) and amazing spots to sit with a bottle of wine and watch the sunset...or take the kids and know they can swim without fear of being run over by speed boats or jet skis. Beulah beach is a favorite spot for families, with it's nice lake-side park and picnic tables. We have summer-time concerts in the park, and yes, a bunch of us locals gather every Fourth of July for our annual community pot-luck picnic. The development they are talking about would have devastating impacts on the lake, the people, the fish and the area. If you have ever even visited Crystal Lake on a summer day, you would see that there are already way too many boats on the lake. Crystal Lake is NOT that huge! We paddlers can hardly take canoes or kayaks out on the lake with fear of getting turned over by loud, huge speed boats racing around or jet skis flying across the lake at dangerous, outrageous speeds.
What Crystal Lake needs is an improvement to the boat launch that is already there. Regardless of what some people think, there are actually plenty of parking spaces for trucks and trailers just a block from the launch. And the bigger picture in all of this is how it would impact Benzie County (Beulah and Benzonia especially), a county seeing unregulated growth and sprawl.
And I know I will get in big trouble for this, but here goes anyway.....for those of us who grew up in this area (like my husband and myself), or those who have lived here for many years, love the area and the waters, and have seen the impacts from the increasing numbers of downstaters and out of staters who come, use our lakes and parks, leave their trash and pollute our land and our water, it's getting pretty hard to take....and harder to feel like we should be fighting so hard to protect what we are so fortunate to live with year-round. I salute the residents of Benzie who are fighting to protect Crystal Lake. I'm standing with them.
Chair, Traverse Group of the Sierra Club